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OFFICIAL Game of Thrones Thread

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by Piobaire, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Well-Known Member

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    Pio has a good point about the vow-breaking. And if one is going to be truly absolute about it, then of course nobody is "purely" good or evil. They're intended to be human beings. But while Sam may be annoying and cowardly [at least in unimportant ways], etc. , I think it's pretty hard to argue that he's not a fundamentally good person. I think the same can largely be said about Bran. I also think that at some point, if you're going to be fair, you need to choose what values really make a good person. You fault Sam for oath-breaking, but you fault Ned for an overly-rigorous (and perhaps overly prideful) adherence to the concept of honor. That said, I should add that I'm enjoying your close and thoughtful discussion.
     
  2. scurvyfreedman

    scurvyfreedman Well-Known Member

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    Good point. By the point he enters the story he's reformed, so I didn't consider his past. But, yes, he's a gray character like all the others. Except Brienne to this point they're all gray or haven't had enough personal choice to be rated any which way. With the three obviously bad actors who aren't grey enough to be discernible from evil - Joffrey the least evil of the bunch, Ramsay, and Gregor - and then there's Gregor's men and the Brave Companions including the two from the Black Cells.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  3. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Well-Known Member

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    I think you have the spoiler policy right - anything from the books that was not been revealed on the show gets spoiler tags.

    As to the bolded part -- if that were bad, Connie and Edina would be the illest m-f-ers around. :rimshot: Oh, and hi again stitches!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. dlm4114

    dlm4114 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the nice words; I've been hanging around SF quite a bit, but just started posting recently, and I could talk about ASOIAF all day. To be clear, I'm not personally advocating any of the these little put-downs; I'm just trying to point out that they're usually there. I agree completely that Sam is fundamentally a good person. But he took a vow of celibacy when he joined the Watch -- a vow that he personally took/takes quite seriously -- and he broke that vow... because he happened to be stuck in a closet for a month (or however long that cruise is, don't quote me on that) with the only girl who's ever even given him the time of day, and it just so happens that he also saved her life and comforted her through her separation from her infant son. I mean, in that situation I think even Varys would've ended up getting some action. It's undoubtedly a "letter of the law" thing, and that's not a strict liability offense in my book... but it is for some people, like Aemon in the show the other night.

    Additionally, it should be mentioned that Sam's passivity is not entirely harmless. When he and Aemon are standing on the deck of that boat in the middle of that driving storm, Sam (who himself is freezing) stands there and essentially watches a blind, feeble centenarian catch the pneumonia that will kill him a few days later. I'll refrain from discussing the extent (if any) of Sam's duty to act (in deference to your expertise, natch...) but if you go back and re-read that scene it's kind of tough to read because Sam is standing there noting to himself how increasingly urgent it is to get Aemon out of the rain ("Egg, I dreamed that I was old...") I love the guy though, don't get me wrong.

    My original point a bit earlier in the thread was just that it seems to me that people tend to zero in on figuring out whether or not someone is "pure" anything, which suggests that lots of people consider it to be an important question to answer, because, to speculate a bit, I think some people are uncomfortable walking through all of the questionable or unfortunate decisions that their favorite characters make (or fail to make), and/or are uncomfortable considering certain details that may (even if it's just a teensy bit) mitigate the "evilness" of their most loathed. Of course, you're ultimately right, and making the correct judgment -- Sam is a fundamentally good person, and that's the bottom line (Stone Coldhands...?), and arguing otherwise requires untenable mental gymnastics. TL:DR, I wasn't trying to argue otherwise, I was just trying to point out that these characters are real -- and therefore flawed -- people, because, as you said, no one is actually purely good or evil. I could probably keep rambling but I'll cut the cord there.
     
  5. scurvyfreedman

    scurvyfreedman Well-Known Member

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    Glad to have you around. We have a small band of book readers here who get into some fun discussions, some who complain there are too many pages with no content except spoiler tags who only want to discuss the show, and institches who wants to be spoiled.

    I opened the door earlier, so here are my favorite characters - both featured and minor:

    1- Arya
    2- Sandor Clegane
    3- Barristan Selmy
    4- Tyrion
    5- Wyman Manderly
    6- Jon Connington with a bullet
    7- Brienne
    8- Jaime
    9- Strong Belwas
    10- Davos

    I also like the Queen of Thorns, Randyll Tarly, Stannis, all of the Umbers, Jojen, Moqorro, the Kindly Man, the Elder Brother, Ned, and a host of others.

    Oh, how I liked Jon Snow until ADwD.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  6. Piobaire

    Piobaire Well-Known Member

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    Just in general, both in the book, the series, and IRL, people that are "pure" anything are boring. It's the various shades of grey and how they conflict, interact, and and collide that makes the story, and life, interesting.
     
  7. scurvyfreedman

    scurvyfreedman Well-Known Member

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    Well, Brienne is pure, but she challenges cultural norms both physically and "professionally" which makes her interesting.
     
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  8. in stitches

    in stitches Well-Known Member

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    hard for me to find any faults in rickon.
     
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  9. dlm4114

    dlm4114 Well-Known Member

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    I can't wait until he rides into book 6 on Shaggy's back, drunk on unicorn blood and leading an army of 10,000 batshit Skagosi tribesmen...
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
    3 people like this.
  10. dlm4114

    dlm4114 Well-Known Member

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    Agree 100%. That was my next point, but I stopped typing because I didn't want to bore anybody. I think it's the one idea more than any other that drives GRRM's entire story.
     
  11. in stitches

    in stitches Well-Known Member

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    :slayer:
     
  12. munchausen

    munchausen Well-Known Member

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    Really, though? These are flaws, mistakes, but not the kind of thing that tips the moral scales that much. I dunno, I kind of feel that too much is made of this "moral ambiguity". Are there a lot of novels written for adults in the last century where the heroes are flawless and perfect? Even Lord of the Rings wasn't like that.
     
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  13. dlm4114

    dlm4114 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks man, happy to be here. SF is a great community. Great list, lots of overlap actually, except for JonCon and Brienne. JonCon I don't feel too strongly about either way, although he did
    annoy me quite a bit when he refused to lop off his greyscale finger

    and Brienne I really don't care for all that much. I'd have Jaime higher and Barristan lower (or possibly out of the top 10, although I do like him a lot). One of my favorite moments in the first book was Tywin scolding Joffrey for dismissing Barristan because of how powerful of a symbol he would be for any challenger who could recruit him. And I don't think I could leave Dacey Mormont off of my top 10 in good faith (RIP). The Greatjon would be in my top 10. Young Bobb, Jaime, and Sandor would have the top 3 slots locked down though. Arya, Tyrion, Davos, and the Greatjon make 7... I'd have to think more about those last three. Tormund is cool, Mance and Euron intrigue me, Beric is solid. TBH I think some of the casting decisions the show made have made me like certain characters less because I thought they were miscast, which sucks but is my fault.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  14. dlm4114

    dlm4114 Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't tip the moral scales for Sam (although Bran's path is, I think, less clear), and I wasn't trying to imply that it does, which probably wasn't all that clear, my fault. I wrote a longer post a little after that one that explained what I was thinking a bit more.

    I'm glad you brought up LOTR, because I think that avoiding the binary morality scheme of LOTR animates everything GRRM writes. I've read a bunch of interviews with him where he has talked about how he set out specifically not to write his homage to LOTR, which he (correctly) pointed out has been the dominant m.o. for a huge swathe of the genre. Rightfully so, because LOTR is the modern fantasy OG. But I would challenge anyone who reads too much depth into the morality of the characters, and, as far as the larger story itself goes, there really is no depth. It's clear who's good and who's bad. The longer ASOIAF goes on, the clearer it becomes that trying to pinpoint good guys and bad guys is a fool's errand. I don't mean that on a micro, character-by-character level, I mean that on a macro, the-entire-story level. Saying that every character in the story has personal shades of gray -- undoubtedly true in ASOIAF, quite a bit less so in LOTR -- is entirely different from grappling with the fact that ASOIAF has totally abandoned any semblance of a traditional protagonist-antagonist structure. We can debate the extent to which that statement is accurate, but I am pretty convinced it is as it stands now, and looking back, I think it becomes easier to understand that that was always the case, we just didn't see it (at least I didn't). This never was Ned's story, just like he never was "the only honorable man in Westeros," or anything like that.

    In the absence of good/bad, or even a central conflict, it can get hard to casually discuss the big characters casually without trying to defend them as being "on the right track" or at least operating in service of a broader, not immoral/bad objective. I don't mean casually in the sense of unemotionally, I mean casually more in the sense of chatting about the story and where it's headed (or where you'd like it to go) without ending up having to take a butter knife to what appears to be a Gordian knot of interconnected conflicts. That's when the gray pops out in individual characters, and when it's floating out there all by itself, without the black or white of a larger conflict frame it against, understanding the story can get kind of frustrating. A big reason this happens a lot in ASOIAF (in my mind) is because I really think that GRRM might be the best writer in the game at characterization. He lives and breathes these characters, for better or worse, and it comes out in the story. Gurm fumbles stylistically here and there -- he's not Fitzgerald or anything, and stuff like trenchers and rashers of bacon and lamprey pie dribbling all over everyone can end up coming off pretty thick.

    But I think he just hits the characters out of the park, and then the slow realization of just how freaking messy this story really is makes it hard to talk about good and bad, which is only natural whenever you're talking about people who are physically fighting each other in a medieval fantasy epic. Take Davos. Undoubtedly a great guy, right? But he is unflinchingly loyal to Stannis -- it's arguably his defining characteristic -- and Stannis has had some extremely close brushes with outright brutality in this story. Is it possible for a truly good man to live his live in service of a tyrant? The best example of what I'm trying to say is Jaime, who gets my vote for "best" character in the series. Sorry for another wall of text! TL;DR -- carefully consider after-dinner coffee when you eat dinner at 845 PM.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  15. CDFS

    CDFS Well-Known Member

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    Brienne is a rather too close minded (and dim-witted) individual to be called purely good, imo. Her loyalty was decided first by attractiveness and then by circumstances. She copied her liege lady's demeanor to 'the kingslayer' to a fault. She's dutiful, but I don't know about good. Her character is fleshing out in the later book(s) though.
     
  16. scurvyfreedman

    scurvyfreedman Well-Known Member

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    Her first loyalty was to the first male who treated her nicely. Renly danced with her. She was the ugly duckling and most men ignored her or mocked her. Her loyalty was because of fair treatment. While she became enamored with him, he continued to treat her fairly - by naming her to his Rainbow Guard when it was obviously not a woman's role and all of the others in his service were upset by it.

    She didn't like the Kingslayer, not because of Catelyn's anti-Lannister proclivities, but because she viewed him as an oathbreaker and an un-true knight. Her only goal was to be a knight, something she was denied because of her sex. Jaime had that opportunity and she believed he violated all that is perfect in her mind. To that extent, she is similar to Sansa. But, also she takes the place of the reader - at that point we all hate Jaime- he pushed Bran from the Tower, violated our sense of decency, and violated his oath. Her conversion on Jaime tracks ours - yes he pushed Bran from the Tower, but it was to save the lives of his own children, the Royals have been engaging in incest for several hundred years, and his oath- well, he explains there were many conflicting oaths. Mayhaps, he's not as bad as we think he is.
     
  17. CDFS

    CDFS Well-Known Member

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    So, we agree then?
     
  18. scurvyfreedman

    scurvyfreedman Well-Known Member

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    Well, I disagree that it was based upon attractiveness. She was loyal to the first one who treated her with respect. It made it more reasonable that her father was a Storm Lord, so Renly was her Lord Paramount. It was presumed by others that it was because Renly was nice to look upon, but that was not the true reason.
     
  19. in stitches

    in stitches Well-Known Member

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    i quite like brienne. i was hoping she was going to kill that bear. that would have been amazing.
     
  20. LawrenceMD

    LawrenceMD Well-Known Member

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    I fell down the deep assed rabbit hole and started reading those GOT Wiki pages. Its like crack because you click on a character and then before you know it its 45min later and you've read over the quick biographies of 35 different characters. I used to do this with The Wire - but not to this degree.

    the great part is that even though I'm constantly spoiling the story for myself it doesn't really take away from the enjoyment of listening/reading the GOT books (I'm on book one - the audio book is like 50hours long LOL).
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013

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